ICS Magazine

The No. 1 Marketing Success Secret

December 16, 2008

What does your marketing plan look like for 2009? Are you doing the same marketing you did in 2008? If you had your best year ever, by all means do it all over again. But otherwise, you're in for a big surprise. 

It's a jungle out there


What does your marketing plan look like for 2009? Are you doing the same marketing you did in 2008? If you had your best year ever, by all means do it all over again. But otherwise, you're in for a big surprise.

  It's survival of the fittest. Don't just follow your competitor's footprints; you may be following him into the abyss.  And just as bad is trying the same things over and over with minimum results.

  Here's what I see working for cleaners all over the world:  
  1.  Referrals. You MUST have a referral program in place. Referrals don't just fall out of the sky you know (maybe sometimes, but you can't count on it).  Technically, word-of-mouth advertising doesn't exist.  Advertising, by definition, means you are paying for media. But you can do some advertising to stimulate your referral program. Do this through snail-mail newsletters, postcards, and client e-mail newsletters.  
  2.  Keep in touch with your clients. A regular client newsletter is the best way to keep in touch. Include articles about cleaning, spot removal, services you offer, your employees, and other businesses you work with. Consider adding a special offer only good for current clients.  In between sending a newsletter, you can mail postcards to your clients. But remember, postcards are best for reminders.  They aren't intended to tell an entire story.  
  3.  Internet marketing. This is hands-down one of the most cost-effective methods of advertising if done properly. I see many websites, some that even cost you thousands to produce, that have no sales message. And what's worse, many carpet cleaning websites don't even show up in Google searches for their city name. What good is having a website if people can find you in Google? I highly recommend dedicating a portion of your advertising budget this year to the Internet.  
  4.  Newspaper. For some cleaning companies, newspaper has been the media that brought in a flood of new clients. Now, there are some tricks to using newspaper. Just any old newspaper ad doesn't always work. It's got to be something newsy, local, and relevant. As well, you may need to do some testing to find the right newspaper.  
  5.  Direct mail. The thing about direct mail is you have potential to be on the forefront of any community's mind for little money. It's great for targeting specific areas of town. For instance, mail a five step sequence of mailings to a select neighborhood. After they receive five separate mail pieces from you over the course of five weeks, you'll have high brand awareness in that neighborhood. Combine the brand awareness with a strong call to action and you've got a winning direct-mail campaign.  
  6.  Flyers. This is a great, low-cost way to gain new clients. If you've got more time than money, flyers may be your game. Do something a little bit more than just a regular doorknob hanger. How about leaving them an entire packet of information in a doorknob hanger bag. Take the time to walk door-to-door. Check with your local laws, but in most cases doorknob hangers are legal. But NEVER leave flyers on or in a mailbox.

        Dan Kennedy, known as the Godfather of direct response marketing, always talks about taking massive action. This means DO NOT rely on one or two advertising media. Have several media that work for you and constantly test new media.

        Take massive action today. And for crying out loud, don't blindly fly through 2009 without some type of written marketing plan. Plan for your success.